Fraudsters know that most work is communicated via phone or email, and they can impersonate family, friends, coworkers, and even executive leadership to get their hands on whatever an unaware employee is willing to give up.
According to the Global Scams Report from cybersecurity company Callsign, data gathered from 8,000 global business leaders shows nearly three quarters (74%) of businesses took a hit on productivity last year because of scams on their businesses, employees, and consumers.
While many leaders no longer view cybersecurity as insurance, leaders need to consider the long-term business implications of a data breach.
The perception of a brand in the eyes of the market and customer base is the focus of many internal meetings, goal-structuring efforts, and resource allocations. Data shows a third of consumers (33%) will never do business again with a company that opens them up to being scammed. Almost half (47%) said that after a scam, they would immediately tell their family and friends about the experience.
That number will likely rise as economic conditions become tighter, scammers improve, and technology implementation increases. A quarter of scam victims (25%) report turning to social media to vent their victimhood, creating more headaches and brand awareness issues for executives and their marketing and public relations teams.
Leadership has made it known that they are concerned about data breaches and their impact on an organization’s brand. More than seven in 10 (71%) leaders say they’re worried about the impact of poor online reviews on their business, with another 68% worried about negative press coverage. A nearly identical amount (67%) of leaders said they face customer retention issues and are unlikely to be able to afford the damage to their brand arising from an angry customer base.
Scammers Using Victim's Age
Before casting a line, phishers and scammers have an idea of their target, sometimes even a good idea of who this person is and why they would be a good mark. Various factors, like age, income, and purchase history, may determine whether an individual is a good target for a cybercriminal. According to data, a significant factor determining the format of the initial outreach is the victim's age.
Data shows that among people 18-to-34 years of age, nearly a third (31%) reported seeing a scam message on social media, versus only 13% of people over 55. Instead, for this older crowd, reports of scams found in email messages (48%) or phone calls (45%) were much more prevalent. The 18-34 cohort has also seen more scams on cellular messaging apps (35%) versus only 17% of those over 55.
Despite their proximity to technology from an early age, younger people are more likely to fall prey to a cyber scam. According to the data, over half (59%) of 18-34 year-olds have fallen for a scam, while only 36% of those over 55 say the same. Younger generations' increased use of social media and technology in their personal lives puts them in a position to be scammed more than their older counterparts. The data shows the necessity of providing good cybersecurity training and guidance to all employees within a multigenerational work environment.
Solutions to Defeat Scammers
Unlike specialized technology like fintech or generative AI offerings, cybersecurity products largely provide the same thing — peace of mind. Leaders in all industries report difficulties in assessing the value and effectiveness of the technology. Nearly half (44%) of organizations said they have difficulty measuring which cybersecurity products actually work and are worthy of purchase.
Callsign says a multi-layered approach is key to preventing scammers from making your employees and customers their next victims. Using AI-powered tools to create unique digital identities — a "digital DNA" — for employees and customers may help companies better protect themselves. These digital DNA tools, based on factors like behavioral biometrics and location intelligence, can outsmart scammers and ensure the organization's data integrity alongside (know your customer) KYC protocols.
Those who lack cybersecurity protection, whether within their own company or in the products they are selling to customers, are doing themselves a significant disservice in the long term.